Skip to main content

Operating on Different Levels

I have known for some time that I am sub-optimal at yard maintenance. I take a Darwinistic approach to gardening, for example - the strong survive and the weak die out. I reason that plants in the forest don't get fertilized and trimmed, so why do I need to do that to plants in my yard. Here in Seattle, we humans are only temporarily borrowing our yards from the forest,anyway. When 2012 happens, or North Korean nukes, or the big earthquake, or Rainier goes off, or space aliens attack and we are all wiped out, the forest will take back Seattle in about half an hour, give or take. Maybe a bit longer, but you see my point.

My retired neighbor operates on a higher level of yard care. His yard is spotless, trimmed, and perfect at all times. We are getting ready for a party next weekend and I amazingly remembered to check the hot tub this morning. The heater was completely powered off and the control panel was blinking the unhelpful message "OH" at me. Perhaps indicating, "OH! That is COOOOOLD water," because it was down to 45 degrees. I don't know. There was a bit of a wind last night, so while I was attending to the hot tub, my neighbor was out tidying up his yard. While I didn't even notice that my hot tub has apparently been powered off for days or weeks, my neighbor is out there right now - and I am not making this up or exaggerating - picking the pine needles and twigs from between the boards of his deck with surgical clamps. Try to imagine having that kind of free time on your hands. Well, I am off to run a dozen errands that will take me from Ballard to Tacoma and my pine needles will have to stay right where they are.


dan said…
my neighbors are retired, and it is like that here: their yard is immaculate, while mine is a disaster.

Popular posts from this blog

Reducing CO2 in your home the nerd way

For Christmas my wife gave me a Netatmo weather station because I am a home weather station nerd. The Netatmo is very cool, but it has an unexpected feature: it measures indoor Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels. As soon as I set it up, the Netatmo began to alert that our indoor CO2 was at an unsafe level. The notes said that outdoor CO2 is usually around 400 ppm, and numbers above 1500 ppm could be unhealthy. On that first day, my house was at around 1300 ppm. Prior to that, I never gave indoor CO2 levels a thought. I began to do some research and discovered high levels of CO2 can cause symptoms such as fatigue, headache, breathing difficulties, strained eyes and itchy skin.  My family does have all of these issues, especially on the weekends when we are home all day, but I never connected that to indoor air quality. Previously, I installed a Nest thermostat . The Nest is very smart and saves energy by learning your habits and programming itself. Unfortunately, it is so efficient, that t

Rooftop Playgrounds

This week I have had some meetings in a tall building in downtown Seattle, and when I took a moment to look around and enjoy the view I have noticed playgrounds on rooftops. I saw this daycare playground: and this playground on top of a school: I think that this is a really cool use of space. A friend that grew up in NYC said that her school had a rooftop playground, too. The delinquent in me wonders how many toys and balls go over the side, but I bet the teachers are pretty strict about that. Downtown Seattle has always seemed a little unfriendly towards kids and it is neat to see spaces being carved out.

How To Make School Lunches More Nutritious: Re-Define Words

If you are a parent of a child who attends public school in Washington, and if you have even a vague recollection of the food pyramid , you probably will have noticed that the lunches that are served in school cafeterias are frequently at odds with the rules of good nutrition. The school is not wrong, however. They have just re-defined words and you are not keeping up. Pop quiz:  Cheese belongs to what food group? *bzzz* - wrong. You said that cheese was in the diary food group , right? No! Pbth! How boringly accurate of you. Cheese magically transforms into a protein when it is served on pizza or in a bread stick! I know that you may be dubious, but I contacted Wendy Barkley, RD,  who is the Acting Supervisor of School Nutrition Programs in the State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and she assured me that it is so. To quote her email to me: " Pizza remains an option for schools for their menus.  The cheese on pizza is counted as a protein in t